• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

FiiO BTR7 Review (Portable DAC & HP Amp)

Rate this portable DAC & HP Amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 1 0.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 13 7.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 72 42.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 85 49.7%

  • Total voters
    171

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
39,501
Likes
179,997
Location
Seattle Area
This is a review and detailed measurements of the FiiO BTR7 portable battery operated USB & Bluetooth DAC and THX balanced headphone amplifier. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $199.99.
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Balanced Review.jpg

A bright, high contrast IPS LCD greets you with lovely/star-trek style fonts which I liked very much. I was also happy to see detailed information about the bit rate (24 "Bits" above). I would have wanted a larger volume level though. And acceleration in the volume control:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Balanced Controls Review.jpg


The rocker up/down volume control provides much finer level adjustment than that built into the operating system which was nice. On the left there is a very useful button to tell the unit to charge or not over USB input, eliminating having to have two such connectors:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Balanced USB Charger Review.jpg


The companion Bluetooth app provides nice control of the unit including the ability to "boost" the balanced output by fair bit. Alas, choice of DAC filters is not exposed so you have to use the unit's own UI to change that.

The unit is quite light with dimensions that are about 2/3 the size of a typical smartphone.

There is a ton of functionality in the unit including parametric EQ and wireless charging! I even appreciate the very flexible silicone USB-C wire to connect to your phone (which operated well with my Samsung).

There is a ton to measure here between multiple outputs, low and high gain plus balanced boost. I tried to navigate through the matrix without going crazy.

FiiO BTR7 Measurements
Let's start with our dashboard of unbalanced 3.5mm output at max volume:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC UnBalanced Measurements.png


Nice to see over 2 volts meaning you have a shot at getting decent output from high-impedance headphones. Performance degrades some though from the optimal 2 volts that pushes SINAD to 100 dB. You do get that in balanced mode however with and without boost:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Balanced Measurements.png


Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Balanced Boost Measurements.png


This lands the unit in "very good" category of all DACs tested and is especially good for a portable product. Here is Bluetooth wireless using LDAC at 0.6 mbit/sec datarate:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Balanced Bluetooth LDAC Measurements.png


Note that this involves Android OS resampling so can't quite say it is the native performance of the unit (I used my Roon player).

Multitone performance is quite good as well:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Balanced Multitone Measurements.png


Noise performance is excellent for class:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Balanced DNR Measurements.png


For some reason though, unbalanced 3.5mm has better dynamic range as you can see in 50 mv test:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Balanced 50 mv SNR Measurements.png

That lands the unit in well above average placement:
Best portable headphone adapter review 2022.png


IMD performance is very good for class until it saturates:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Balanced IMD Measurements.png


Jitter is again excellent for a portable device:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Balanced Jitter Measurements.png


Linearity lands in the same department:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Balanced Linearity Measurements.png


Two reconstruction filters are provided:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Balanced Filter Measurements.png


Default is the red one which I do not recommend. It almost looks like it is using the filter for 48 kHz sampling.

THD+N vs frequency could be better:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Balanced THD vs Frequency Measurements.png


Most important thing in this class of device is power output so let's measure balanced first:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Power 300 ohm Balanced Measurements.png

I measured but do not show low gain mode as it only reduces output power but doesn't do anything else. Might as well use high gain. I like to see 100 milliwatts in desktop headphone amps. It is nice to see BTR7 coming so close to that in this small enclosure.

Here is 32 ohm:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Power 32 ohm Balanced Measurements.png


This is tons more power than a headphone dongle. Devices with internal battery are inherently more capable in producing higher voltages and current needed.

You naturally lose good bit of power with unbalanced/3.5mm output:
Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Power 300 ohm Unbalanced Balanced Measurements.png

Fiio BTR7 Portable Headphone Adapter DAC Power 32 ohm Unbalanced Balanced Measurements.png


But you get lower noise floor so better fit for IEMs.

FiiO BTR7 Headphone Listening Tests
I tested the unit with both Sennheiser HD650 and Drop Ether CX. In both cases there was plenty of volume, bass and detail. With HD650 I could almost get my ear lobes to resonate at max/unsafe volume. With Ether CX, deep bass with max volume would cause some distortion but you could back off and still have very usable volume. This is level of performance that you just can't get out of a typical dongle.

Conclusions
Features and look of the FiiO BTR7 alone would set it aside from competition, justifying its price premium. Add desktop class performance and you get a complete package that puts a smile on your face. Well, it did on my face. :)

I am happy to recommend FiiO BTR7.
-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

juliangst

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2021
Messages
394
Likes
321
Thinking between this and G5 for iems
I think the Fiio is an unnecessarily large device just for iems. An Apple dongle can power most iems already.

The BTR7 is perfect for headphones that need more power than a normal dongle can provide.
For power hungry planars I would definitely get the Topping. My Topping NX7 is the only portable device that is capable of powering my Aeon Noires
 

Funnyjelo

Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2021
Messages
11
Likes
34
I think the Fiio is an unnecessarily large device just for iems. An Apple dongle can power most iems already.

The BTR7 is perfect for headphones that need more power than a normal dongle can provide.
For power hungry planars I would definitely get the Topping. My Topping NX7 is the only portable device that is capable of powering my Aeon Noires
The main benefit for IEMs is that it is not attached to your phone AND the dongle BTR7. It can use the LDAC instead. Your phone is big and cumbersome where this could be in the other pocket or shirt pocket and much smaller and lighter. Great for walking around the house and house work.
 

juliangst

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2021
Messages
394
Likes
321
The main benefit for IEMs is that it is not attached to your phone AND the dongle BTR7. It can use the LDAC instead. Your phone is big and cumbersome where this could be in the other pocket or shirt pocket and much smaller and lighter. Great for walking around the house and house work.
That’s why I use a BTR5 :)
 

tifune

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Messages
897
Likes
595
There's also PEQ in this unit, although firmware is very recent and per the BTR7 Head-Fi thread sounds like it still needs a bit of polishing. In this space Qudelix is still on top for me, personally.
 

Steve Dallas

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
775
Likes
1,612
Location
A Whole Other Country
what is a low jitter battery?

Well-done facetious humor.

I almost wish I had a use case for this, so I could justify rewarding FIIO by purchasing it. But I don't.
 

MacCali

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 21, 2020
Messages
610
Likes
255
I got a Fiio portable and I want to warn that the app in the past has been known to brick the device.

I’m not sure if it almost did to mine, but it definitely made it malfunction. Hopefully we are past that.

But overall a superior product, I can’t see them messing ports up.
 

DanTheMan

Active Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
205
Likes
279
FiiO is on a roll lately. They have great new IEMs, one of the word’s best earbuds (old-school, flat-face style), and now I see this. I love my Qudelix, but if I didn’t have it, I buy this.
 

Illtrick

Active Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2020
Messages
108
Likes
110
Location
Seattle
Which one would be a better match for the Aeon 2’s? G5 or BTR7 (only going to use the SE output)? I love the power of the G5 but Fiio has a lot more experience on the firmware / software side that make me a bit gunshy on the G5.
 

julian_hughes

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Aug 23, 2020
Messages
502
Likes
644
The big drawback with Fiio products is that they tend to be much less nicely made than their aluminium bodies suggest. I had a Fiio E7 (portable USB DAC/Amp); it had a one year warranty and failed between one and two years. I bought a Fiio E9 (desktop amp with dock for E7). It was DOA. I bought a Fiio M3K personal player; just out of warranty the screen fell out! No, really, the screen actually fell out of the front of the player! It had been attached with about two molecules of adhesive. All these items gained great reviews and a lot of praise but, despite an apparent quality feel, were horribly badly assembled or had awful design out of sight. Their software tends to be fairly terrible too. They always claim their players do gapless playback, then when people complain they don't they promise it will happen in a future firmware update, but it *never* happens.
 

raif71

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 7, 2019
Messages
1,936
Likes
1,928
The big drawback with Fiio products is that they tend to be much less nicely made than their aluminium bodies suggest. I had a Fiio E7 (portable USB DAC/Amp); it had a one year warranty and failed between one and two years. I bought a Fiio E9 (desktop amp with dock for E7). It was DOA. I bought a Fiio M3K personal player; just out of warranty the screen fell out! No, really, the screen actually fell out of the front of the player! It had been attached with about two molecules of adhesive. All these items gained great reviews and a lot of praise but, despite an apparent quality feel, were horribly badly assembled or had awful design out of sight. Their software tends to be fairly terrible too. They always claim their players do gapless playback, then when people complain they don't they promise it will happen in a future firmware update, but it *never* happens.
Sorry to hear that. I bought X3II (2 units), M6, K5Pro and Q5II... all of them still with me now and working fine.
 

Metronomy

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2022
Messages
76
Likes
64
It would be interesting to try ifi go blue too, I've been using it for 4 months and I find it excellent.
 

polmuaddib

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2020
Messages
368
Likes
597
Is that balanced out for headphone use only or could it be used with breakout adapter to xlr and use powered speakers?
 
Top Bottom